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238 Degrees Conferred at BUSM’s 165th Commencement
As a sea of red robes envelopes the Boston University Charles River Campus during commencement weekend, the MD and PhD graduates of the School of Medicine and its Division of Graduate Medical Sciences stand out with their dark green and deep blue lapels and hoods that signify their course of study. For the 238 graduates of the Class of 2012, the academic road has led them to this day of recognition for their achievement as doctors of medicine and doctors of philosophy.
One hundred sixty-six members of the class received the MD, 10 the MD-PhD, four the MD-MBA, three MD-MPH and 55 received the PhD. Latin honors were conferred on 34 members of the class.
BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, welcomed the graduates, their families and friends after a rousing performance of the National Anthem by graduating medical student Mary Alice Vijjeswarapu.
“Commencement is really only the end of the beginning of your education,” Dean Antman told the Class of 2012. “We hope you have acquired the most important tool of all–the capacity for continued, disciplined inquiry, lifelong learning. You are about to embark as a resident or post doc on what will be your steepest learning curve yet. Congratulations on reaching this major milestone in your professional life– the end of the beginning.”
Speaking in Latin for what now has become her commencement tradition, Associate Provost for Graduate Medical Sciences Linda Hyman, PhD, told the graduates, per aspera ad astra: through hardship to the stars. “I chose this phrase because I think it is important to recognize the road you’ve traveled was likely long and difficult,” said Hyman. “And, yes, as we all know it is all about the journey – but now – stars here you come! I know it wasn’t easy and that you almost certainly experienced hardships along the way. Perhaps experiments that didn’t work, a test you knew you could have done better on, yet here you are and you most definitely have made it.”
The faculty awards conferred at commencement included Educator of the Year Awards to Adam B. Hall, MSc., instructor of anatomy and neurobiology, for Graduate Sciences; Megan T. Sandel, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental health, for Preclinical Sciences; and Edward B. Feinberg, MD, professor of ophthalmology, for Clinical Sciences. The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award was presented to Heidi P. Auerbach, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and Brian Penti, MD ’04, assistant professor of family medicine. The School’s highest teaching award, the Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching, was presented to Anna DePold Hohler, MD, ’98 associate professor of neurology.
Speaking on behalf of the graduate students, Johann Sebastian Bergholz Villafane said, “Whether it is in industry or academia, policy or education, we came to this particular school, to BU, because we wanted to make a difference, and we have already begun. As we teach those classes, publish our articles, discover new medicines, and treat our patients, we become part of the international scientific community, and it will be up to us to give this community direction and purpose.” Villafane received his doctorate in biochemistry and accepted a position as a research assistant professor at Sichuan University, in Chengdu, China.
Aniruddha (Anu) Hazra, chosen by his medical school classmates to speak, pondered several major events during his BUSM education. “Recently, I found myself thinking about our induction into medicine out on Talbot Green that August afternoon,” he recalled. “When I compare that Anu in his crisp white coat, to the Anu standing today in overly priced rented regalia, the differences are staggering. On the outside, I have much less hair, gained a little weight, and perpetually look tired. But more importantly, on the inside up here, and I speak for all of us, we have consumed, digested, and applied more knowledge and skills than we could ever imagine. On Match day I made the analogy of our match to finding ‘the one.’ If that Friday in March was our engagement, this is the wedding. It is a culmination of years of dedication and diligence.” Hazra will be starting an internal medicine residency in Chicago at the Rush University Medical Center.
Commencement speaker Charles Clements, MD, MPH, executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, shared the human rights activist three-word code: dignity, witness, and hope. “Dignity is at the core of all human rights,” he said. “Dignity should be at the core of every interaction you have with patients as a physician. Witness can come in many forms. It can mean standing up for patients who have no voice of their own. Hope is the very foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Right. I cannot think of a single domain during my lifetime in which there hasn’t been some improvement. You began this journey with hope and I’m sure you can think back to someone who spilled a little hope on you along the way.”
The ceremony concluded with a reciting of the Hippocratic Oath by the MD graduates and, for the first time at the BUSM commencement, the Oath of the Scientist by the PhD graduates. Photos are available on Facebook and a video is available on BUniverse .
Submitted by Mary Hopkins.